BREXIT deadline closes in with deadlock still in place

BREXIT is still at a standstill as Prime Minister Theresa May is weighing her options as to how to pass the  BREXIT deal and avoiding a no deal situation. Some leaders in the EU have stated that a no deal divorce will be seen as the lesser even if May’s deal is not passed by the British Parliament.

May is now holding talks with oppositions Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbin in a new effort to pass her deal which has failed to be passed three times in the British Parliament. There calls for either May to compromise her deal or resign as many believe she no more than sitting duck prime minister now.

The EU has given the United Kingdom (UK) till the 12 April 2019 as the new deadline for BREXIT.  Time is running out for the UK leaders to come to an agreement as a no deal scenario looks to be the most like option if parliamentarians can’t come to an agreement for the British people.

 

By Mokgethi Mtezuka

South Africa’s support for the Saharawi people may hurt Sanlam’s billion dollar deal in Morocco

South African insurance and investment company, Sanlam may have a problem pushing through a billion dollar deal in Morocco. Sanlam is in the process of trying to purchase Saham Finances SA, and it may come in to conflict with the South Africans government support of the Saharawi people.

According to fin24.com Moroccan billionaire Othman Benjelloun spoke out on the deal and said “Sanlam’s acquisition of insurer Saham Finances SA”. He further said that  South Africa has chosen the wrong side in a territorial dispute. The South African government last month hosted the Southern African Development Community (SADC) heads of State meeting which was held to show the regions solidarity with the Saharawi.

Benjelloun is very influential and is the chairperson of Morocco’s BMCE Bank. He also called for South Africa to change strategies with regard to Morocco or the deal will receive no support.

 

Source: fin24.com

President Cyril Ramaphosa appointed Edward Kieswetter as Head of the South African Revenue Service (SARS)

Former chief executive of Alexander Forbes, Edward Kieswetter has been appointed by South African President Cyril Ramaphosa to be the new commissioner of the South African Revenue Service (SARS). Kieswetter will start his five-year term at the beginning of May.

Kieswetter has been tasked with the reestablishment of trust in the South Africa tax collection agency. According to dailymaverick.co.za the tax institution had been mismanaged and dismantled through alleged corrupt dealings.

Kieswetter having a good reputation, certainly looks to be a good choice, as well as him coming from the private sector – he will establish international standard working procedures and benchmarking. Kieswetter also has previous experience with SARS having worked as the deputy commissioner 2004-2009.

By Mokgethi Mtezuka

SADC leaders attend Saharawi Solidarity Conference

The Southern African Development Community (SADC) heads of State are in meeting at the South Africa’s Department of International Relations and Cooperation (DIRCO) offices, in Pretoria. The leaders are in meeting to stand in solidarity with the Saharawi people of the Arab Democratic Republic (SADR).

South Africa’s President, Cyril Ramaphosa said that the aim of the conference is to build bridges, ending subjugation and dominance through force. This is also part of building an integrated, politically united Africa based on the ideals of Pan-Africanism, as well as ensuring a peaceful and secure Africa, he said.

The Conference noted that the Saharawi made their decision was clear in 1991, when they agreed to engage in a referendum for independence that’s been obstructed by Morocco for 27 years. The Africa Union (AU), the United Nations (UN) and Morocco were also urged to expedite the referendum.

The Saharawi people are willing to engage with good faith with Morocco in a civil manner of dignity and respect. All that is need is for Morocco to sit at the same table and to implement decisions of AU, UN and international community at large.

 

By Mokgethi Mtezuka

Minister Sisulu thanks South Africans for responding to the call for humanitarian assistance

The Minister of International Relations and Cooperation, Lindiwe Sisulu, has expressed her sincere gratitude to all the South African companies, NGOs and individuals who have responded, and are still responding, to the call for humanitarian assistance for victims affected by Cyclone Idai in Malawi, Zimbabwe and Mozambique.

“We are humbled by the generosity of all South Africans who continue to deliver boxes of goods at the Department of International Relations and Cooperation (DIRCO). This is who we are. This is what Ubuntu is,” said Minister Sisulu.

The Minister noted the offers of financial assistance made to DIRCO and announced that the Director-General, Kgabo Mahoai, would, on Friday, 22 March 2019, announce details of a humanitarian fund that would allow stakeholders to deposit such funds.

The Minister repeated her appeal to all companies operating in these three countries, and other South African companies, to lead in contributing and in the delivery of humanitarian aid.

“Blankets, clothes, water, stationery and non-perishable food items are in urgent need. We are humbled by NGOs like Gift of the Givers, who are already assisting on the ground,” added Minister Sisulu.

Donations can be delivered at the DIRCO Head Office or at the Ministry Offices in Parliament, Cape Town. The following officials can be contact for further guidance:

Matheko Rametsi
rametsimu@dirco.gov.za
+27 81 037 2765

Surprise Malehase
malehases@dirco.gov.za
+27 83 700 7946

 

ISSUED BY THE DEPARTMENT OF INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS AND COOPERATION

Minister Sisulu to attend a meeting of the SADC Council of Ministers in Namibia

The Minister of International Relations and Cooperation, Lindiwe Sisulu, MP, will travel to Windhoek, Namibia, for a meeting of the Southern African Development Community (SADC) Council of Ministers scheduled for 15 to 16 March 2019.

The SADC Council of Ministers is responsible for overseeing the functioning and development of the region. The Council also ensures that policies and decisions taken are implemented.

The upcoming SADC Council of Ministers Meeting is expected to deliberate on a number of key issues pertaining to the region and will also consider a number of strategic documents and receive update reports on the progress made since the last meeting, which took place in Windhoek, Namibia in August 2018.

Key issues to be deliberated upon will include the status of finances of the organisation and the approval of the 2019/20 budget. Furthermore, Council will also reflect on progress made towards Continental and Regional Integration.

In addition, Council will receive a progress report on the SADC Industrialisation Strategy and Roadmap and on the implementation of the current theme of the 38th SADC Summit “Promoting Infrastructure Development and Youth Empowerment for Sustainable Development.”

South Africa will also report on the state of readiness relating to the hosting of the upcoming SADC Solidarity Conference with the Saharawi Arab Democratic Republic, scheduled to take place in South Africa from 25 to 26 March 2019.

The SADC Council of Ministers Meeting was preceded by meetings of the SADC Standing Committee of Senior Officials on 11 March 2019 and the Finance Committee on 12 March 2019.

Minister Sisulu will be accompanied by the Deputy Minister of Trade and Industry, Bulelani Magwanishe and senior officials from other departments.

 

ISSUED BY THE DEPARTMENT OF INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS AND COOPERATION

South Africa and Namibia to co-host SADC Solidarity Conference on Western Sahara

South Africa and Namibia will co-host the SADC Solidarity Conference on Western Sahara, from 25-26 March 2019 in Pretoria the Solidarity Conference will be “in support of the struggle of the Saharawi people against the colonial occupation of their territory.”

The conference will highligh South Africa’s continuous support of the Saharawi people fight for freedom, Western Sahara since 1975 has had a long suffered from fighting for territorial  claims of Morocco and the Saharawi people.  Even though the region is mostly desert with a population of only over 500, 000 it has become somewhat of a unsolvable issue in North Africa and for African Union.

Western Sahara does have rich fishing seas, phosphate reserves and untapped offshore oil deposits. The Saharan Arab Democratic Republic (SADR), has been the unofficial name of the country declared by the Polisario Front in 1976 but is not completely recognised by all members of the African Union.

Source: africandailyvoice.com

 

South Africa hands over humanitarian package to Zimbabwe

Following the successful two-day Bi-National Commission between Zimbabwe and South Africa, held in Harare, the Ministers of International Relations and Cooperation and Transport, Hon. Lindiwe Sisulu, and Hon. Blade Nzimande, respectively, handed over a humanitarian package to the people of Zimbabwe on behalf of the NGO, Gift of the Givers.

Handing over the package, which consists of medical supplies, school stationery and other immediate personal needs, the Ministers said the gift is from the people of South Africa to the people of Zimbabwe.

“On behalf the Gift of the Givers, we extend this consignment to the people of Zimbabwe. We hope this little contribution of medical and other urgent necessities will assist families,” Minister Sisulu said.

The Zimbabwean Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, Lt General Sibusiso Moyo, said: “On behalf of the Zimbabwean people, we welcome the gift; and this shows the strong bond of friendship that exists between the two countries. This is a true, lifesaving friendship between the people of South Africa and Zimbabwe”.

ISSUED BY THE DEPARTMENT OF INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS AND COOPERATION

Ramaphosa announces plans to build a new University

South African President, Cyril Ramaphosa announced plans to build a new university in SA. This at the Lyttelton City Hall, in Centurion. According to the President, many more universities are in plan for the future.

No details as to the exact location of this new University. South Africa has a multitude of a tertiary institution around the country. However, it still suffers from low literacy rates when compared to the developed nation as well as some African countries.

There is hope that this new learning institution will be located in the province which desperately needs it. There are also lots of questions surrounding free educations in South Africa and how this university will play a part in that with critics pointing what’s the point of a new University if a student can’t afford to attend.

Another major question posed by the new university is how this will contribute to job growth in South Africa, as unemployment among the youth is at 50% with many graduates still unable to get a job even after completing tertiary education. 

 

By Mokgethi Mtezuka

South Africa investment to be main focus of BRICS Business Council meeting

After Trade and Industry Minister Rob Davies announced the new members of the BRICS Business Council meeting, they discussed the agenda for council this year were it was outlined that a strong focus will be put on securing investment for South Africa.

The BRICS relationship has become strategic for South Africa at the meeting they praised the valuable work the council has made particularly in promotion of practical business to business relations. The council highlighted the most important relationship that can be built in BRICS Business Council is that of investment.

A new focus will be placed on investment in South Africa and South African business, as well as South African companies investing in the other BRICS countries. Strengthening of ties advancing the conversation and coordinating in building the relationship will be the goals of the council.

By Mokgethi Mtezuka